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Dog Breeds: Basset Hound—The Character

A direct descendent of the Bloodhound, Basset Hounds have a colorful history. After the American Revolution, they were given to George Washington by the Marquis de Lafayette. In 1863, they were introduced at a Paris dog show. William Shakespeare poetically described their long ears as "ears which sweep away the morning dew," and their deep, resonating bark is nothing short of splendid.

Follow the nose

But most importantly, these pooches have an excellent sense of smell, second only to their relative the Bloodhound. The name Basset Hound comes from the French word "bas," meaning low. This trait, coupled with stubby legs and a heavy physique, makes for a slow pace, which is preferable to hunters on foot. Their appearance is also less likely to scare game out of reach.

While Basset Hounds are obedient and trainable, if they pick up an interesting smell it will be hard to hold their attention, as their nature is to vigorously track that scent.

Indoor-outdoor dogs

Basset Hounds fare well in apartments, as they are mostly inactive indoors, and do not demand a yard. However, it is encouraged to get them outdoors to help them stay healthy and trim. They will play and run for hours given the chance.

Though short, Basset Hounds are also long, which allows them to reach scraps on tabletops, so be careful of their food intake. Too much weight stresses their legs and spine.

Big bark

Basset Hounds tend to show off their melodious bark, making them good watchdogs. But in the family circle they're friendly, outgoing, playful and highly tolerant of children and other pets. With so much quirk and character, these dogs are positively charming.